Grid operator Southwest Power Pool anticipates sufficient energy resources to keep the lights on throughout the summer
LITTLE ROCK, ARK. — Southwest Power Pool, the grid operator responsible for coordinating electric reliability for a 14-state region in the central U.S., expects to have enough generating capacity to meet the regional demand for electricity through the summer season.
For the season lasting June – September 2022, SPP anticipates that the demand for electricity will peak at 51.1 gigawatts (GW) and also studied scenarios with higher-than-expected demand. Its diverse fleet of member utilities’ conventional and renewable generating resources will be prepared to serve at least 55.5 GW, taking both planned and a margin of unplanned outages into consideration. SPP’s all-time peak demand for electricity was 51 GW, which occurred July 28, 2021.
SPP’s studies consider factors including:
- Planned and unplanned outages of both generating units and the high voltage transmission lines that deliver electricity from where it’s produced to local distribution systems where it’s delivered to homes, businesses and industrial customers.
- Drought conditions that will impact the SPP footprint and are likely to lead to increased irrigation loads: Electricity is needed to power the equipment used to water crops, and decreases in precipitation generally lead to increased electricity use.
- Assumptions regarding availability of wind energy based on last year’s minimum wind output.
- A “high load summer model” that assumes electricity use will peak above SPP’s record demand. SPP’s record peak demand is 51,037 megawatts (MW).
SPP assesses electricity supply and demand from a high-level, regional perspective and bases its studies on data provided by generator and transmission owners and member utilities who directly serve residential, commercial and industrial customers. While SPP anticipates sufficient resources to meet the demand across its 14-state balancing authority area, the summer seasonal assessment did identify potential local issues that it will address with the entities responsible for serving load in those areas. SPP will likewise address potential fuel-supply constraints with generator owners and operators on a case-by-case basis.
“SPP’s job is to prepare for both expected and unexpected scenarios that could affect electric reliability across our region,” said SPP Senior Vice President of Operations Bruce Rew. “We work closely with our member utilities to make sure our forecasts are as dependable as they can be, and then maintain contingency plans and monitor the regional grid around the clock so we can respond quickly and effectively if things don’t go as planned. We know how much the 18 million people in our region depend on our services, and we do everything in our power to responsibly and economically keep the lights on.”
On May 12, 2022, SPP declared a Resource Advisory effective May 13-14 in response to higher-than-normal temperatures and other factors. The advisory requires no action on behalf of the general public but is meant to raise awareness among generation and transmission operators regarding circumstances that could require action on their part to prevent impacts to regional reliability. When weather, fuel-supply or other conditions create potential impacts to reliability, SPP publishes updates at www.SPP.org/grid-conditions. Individuals may also subscribe to email updates via SPP’s Grid Conditions Exploder by creating an account at SPP.org.
About SPP: Southwest Power Pool, Inc. is a regional transmission organization: a not-for-profit corporation mandated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure reliable supplies of power, adequate transmission infrastructure and competitive wholesale electricity prices on behalf of its members. SPP manages the electric grid across 17 central and western U.S. states and provides energy services on a contract basis to customers in both the Eastern and Western Interconnections. The company’s headquarters are in Little Rock, Arkansas. Learn more at SPP.org.